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  • Renee Anderson

READ THIS! - Gregor the Overlander

You know how Hunger Games is kind of a big deal? Well, before Suzanne Collins ever shared Katniss’s adventures with the world, she was busy writing an incredible, but little known fantasy series for kids in 4th-7th grades. The Underland Chronicles is such a good series; I can’t even tell you how much I love it.

The premise is going to sound creepy, so try not to get too weirded out. Just trust me that it works. Suzanne Collins is a master world builder. This whole series takes place underground in a world where humans are just one species among many human-sized versions of creepy crawlies. The first book, Gregor the Overlander, is a solid quest novel. It’s incredibly fun and kids absolutely love it. There are battle scenes and diaper jokes. The characters fly on giant bats, and some of them betray the others. The first 50 pages are a little slow, so I always tell kids to hang in there. It takes about 6 chapters for Gregor to finally make it to the Underland. But once he does, the adventure is on!

My favorite thing about these books is how Suzanne Collins crafts the entire series. Each one builds the series arc with more intensity. These suckers get dark. No character is safe. Suzanne Collins is the master at bringing about a palpable tension in her writing. Some of the characters you love will die. Speaking of characters - holy cow are they fun and unique and sometimes twisted and other times adorable!

I love recommending this book to 5th and 6th graders. Most of them devour it and go on to consume the whole series. Advanced 4th graders dig it, too. And, it’s great for 7th graders who are just discovering a love of reading.

Final thoughts!?

It’s funny that Suzanne Collins got so famous for The Hunger Games. I actually think The Underland Chronicles is better. What do you think?

- Recommendation written by Amanda Northrup

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